the los angeles philharmonic orchestra

On May 15, 1970, the Mothers Of Invention and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta, performed music of 200 Motels at UCLA as part of the Contempo '70 festival.

The Mothers Of Invention: Frank Zappa, Ian Underwood, Don Preston, Jim Sherwood, Ray Collins, Billy Mundi, Jeff Simmons & Aynsley Dunbar.

Parts of this concert can be found on the bootlegs "200 Motels" and "At The Olympic / 200 Motels".

The LAPO are still very active.  their home page is at: www.laphil.org.

"The LAPO, conducted by Zubin Mehta, played a concert with Zappa and selected Mothers at UCLA's Pauley Pavillion on May 15, 1970. This incarnation of the Mothers was a pick-up band put together specifically for the concert, and included Ian Underwood, Don Preston, Jim Sherwood, Ray Collins, Billy Mundi, Jeff Simmons & Aynsley Dunbar and perhaps The Top Score Singers.
This was the concert which Flo & Eddie attended as audience members, and would afterwards approach Frank about joining his group. It was also the world premiere of much of the music that would later be performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  for 200 Motels.
The musicians union wanted royalties for recording rights, so Frank declined to record that show. Somebody in the crowd did have a tape recorder, and the resulting music has wound up on a variety of bootlegs."

         from: Frank Zappa (The Real Frank Zappa Book)
Sometime in 1970, I had an offer for a major concert performance of the orchestral music accumulating in my closet. During the MOI's first five years, i carried with me, on the road, masses of manuscript paper, and, whenever there was an opportunity, scribbled stuff on it. This material eventually became the score for 200 Motels (based on an estimate of the number of gigs we played in the first five years- forty jobs per year?).
The performance was to be held at UCLA's Pauley Pavillion (a basketball arena seating about fourteen thousand people), with Zubin Mehta conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. A pretty big deal.
There was a 'catch,' though - the orchestra didn't really want to play the stuff- they wanted an event; something 'unique'- like-uhh, maybe a rock group and -uhhhh- a real orchestra sort of -uhhh- well you know- 'rocking out together.' It didn't matter what the music was. This eventually led to a few problems. First of all, i didn't have a 'rock group'- the MOI had been disbanded for about a year. second, there were no parts copied for the scores, and i was being asked to pay for this enormous job (seven thousand 1970 dollars). The third problem was that I wanted some kind of tape of the show, and the musicians' union wouldn't allow it. (They didn't do anything when some asshole in the audience ran a cassette and made a bootleg album out of it, but they were promising stern action if i made one for my own use- just to find out what my pieces sounded like... but let me slow down here.)
We solved problem number one by putting together an interim one-shot 'Mothers-Of-Invention-Sort-Of-Group.' It did a short tour to warm up, maybe half a dozen dates, and returned to L.A. for the show. The second problem was solved by me spending the seven thousand bucks on a team of copyists. The third problem never got solved, and I never got a tape of the show.
It was the most successful indoor concert of the L.A. Phil's season that year- sold out. Somewhere in the mass of spectators were Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, a.k.a. Flo & Eddie. They came backstage after the show, said they liked it, and told me that The Turtles had split up and they were looking for something to do.
The rest is history.


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